The OmniCron Variant is spreading faster than any other one we’ve seen thus far.
If you’re like me, before this variant I only knew a few people who caught COVID… well know I know more people that have had it than haven’t!
The latest recommendation from the CDC is to use a N95 or KN95 masks.
The problem is you need to make sure you buy a real N95 or KN95 mask and they are expensive… fair bet if you are paying under $2.50 per mask it is counterfeit.
In this article we are going to share some tips to recognizing a real mask vs. counterfeit and most importantly helping you extend the life of these masks to save you money.
What’s the Difference Between N95 and KN95?
N95 and KN95 masks are quite similar in filtering non-oil-based particles, such as viruses, according to 3M.
The two masks have the same filter performance of 95% or more. This means they both can reduce the concentration of airborne particles that pass through the filter at the same rate.
The main difference between the two is where they are certified. N95 masks are NIOSH approved in the US. Due to the shortage it is recommended that these be used by Medical Personnel.
KN95 are still certified, but the certification takes place in China in an FDA registered facility. Proof of passing filtration and bacteria testing is needed before they are given certification.
What is interesting is in China, KN95 manufacturers must run a “fit test” on real humans to ensure the masks allow little to no leakage. Makers of N95s aren’t required to run this test. Now this could be because a real N95 uses a headband as opposed to ear loops. The headband allows for greater adjustments.
Real vs. Counterfeit…
The old saying if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Right now N95’s and KN95’s are becoming harder to find. Costs are increasing as materials, supply chain problems and increased freight have more than tripled in the past year.
We’ve seen our cost for a 5-pack if KN95’s increase dramatically. Previously we were able to sell them at $9.99, our new price has increased to $14.99. To make matters worse, our supplier has informed us that this price will go up on our next order.
The CDC recommends that people be cautious of masks where pricing is inexpensive and to look at reviews when buying masks from a third-party market or unfamiliar website.
Can You Reuse a KN95 or N95 Mask?
So this really has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. At first it was recommended to only use either of these masks for 8 hours. Now the CDC says both of these masks are good for 40 hours or use.
The good news now you can actually extend that even more by doing a “dry” disinfectant. There are two proven methods.
Method 1: Placing the mask in a brown paper bag. The time of this is debatable but right now the CDC is saying for 5 days, then you will get another 40 hours. But that is it, after that you should throw it out.
Method 2: UV-C light! According to researchers at Henry Ford Health System and the University of Michigan, Ultraviolet-C light kills coronavirus on KN95 and N95 masks, effectively decontaminating them so they can safely be reused.
The good news is UV Light is in sunlight. The only issue with that is you need to make sure you are keeping it in a clean area. Also the time to disinfect is hard to determine because it depends on the strength of the sun. I know many people put them on their dashboard. While this is indeed getting some UV light, is the dashboard sterile? And are you getting enough sunlight to sterilize it.
The easier way is by using a UV Sanitizer. Thanks in a large part to the pandemic, the price of these have become affordable. Depending on the type, you used to have to pay $30 to $100 for a UV Sanitizer. Now you can pay as little as $3!
Here are two that PulseTV sells.
Handheld UV Sanitizer Wand – $2.91
This little wand does the job and is great for travelers. I have long used one of these to sanitize my remote at hotels. I paid $30 years ago. That one since broke and I’ve been using this one when I travel. ¨C45C
– It disinfects within 20 seconds, but you have to hold the wand over the same area for 20 seconds, then move on to the next.
– As mentioned a big benefit of this is the size and portability.
– Price makes this most affordable wand, with certification, on the market.
– Because of the surface area it covers, disinfecting a mask thoroughly inside and out could take 20 to 30 minutes.
– You have to take your time and cover the mask thoroughly. ¨
– Batteries… it runs on 4 AAA batteries. Because you will use this a lot you could go through a lot of batteries.
UV Sanitizer Box – $24.99
– The easiest way to sanitize a mask as well as a host of other items. ¨
– Because it is a “box” format you can place items inside, set the timer and walk away while it sanitizes your mask. No need to hold a wand over each and every part of the mask it does it automatically.
– These are great to sanitize your iPhone, keys, credit cards and just about anything else that can fit in it.
– I love that it runs via a USB cord so there are never any batteries to buy.
– This particular unit used to sell for $70 and now is on sale for $24.99. It is comparable to Phone Soap which is currently selling for $99.99.
– It does need a power source of either an outlet or a power bank.
– While the price has come down significantly, it is still almost 10 times the price of the Wand.
– Quantities are limited.
I don’t know if mask wearing will ever go away. I think even once the pandemic wanes or hopefully, is eliminated, I think wearing a mask when one is sick will be the new norm.
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